Women who use tanning beds are much more likely to develop the deadly skin cancer melanoma. But more than a million Americans hit the tanning salon each day. And some 70 percent of them are women. Tanning beds, lamps and booths use ultraviolet A (UVA) light, which contributes to aging and cancer. Indoor tanning can also affect your eyes, leading to cataracts. One study found that tanning 10 times in a two-week period can suppress your immunity.
Some states have instituted laws to keep kids from tanning without a parent’s consent, or insisting that tanning salons provide protective goggles or suggest that customers wear them, but many times the rules are ignored.
To keep your skin healthy and beautiful, take these steps:
Never leave home without sunscreen. Look for a broad-spectrum product with an SPF of 15 or more, and wear it every day, even when the sun isn’t shining. If you’ll be out in the sun for a long time or if you’re swimming or sweating, reapply often.
Get a faux glow. Try bronzers, tinted moisturizers and self-tanning lotions and sprays to get a fake tan with no increased risk of cancer. Look for a tanning lotion that lists dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, as the active ingredient. It’s a natural ingredient that reacts with the skin to produce a golden skin color. But even if your sunless tanner offers some SPF protection, make sure to put on extra sunscreen if you’ll be out in the sun for more than two hours, and reapply often.